46. Mental Health Awareness Week

As we approach the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, I have been weighing up whether or not to write this blog. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to write or talk about, and I guess that’s why it has always been shrouded in secrecy. A broken leg or my recent gall bladder op, they’re no big deal, but depression or anxiety, or a multitude of other conditions are kept hush-hush and under wraps. Why? Is it the word mental? Do people assume that means you’re crazy? I suspect that is part of it. When I told my GP that I struggled to accept the fact that I need anti-depressants to get through the day, she pointed out that having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a child, she needs insulin to get through the day, and what’s the difference? She had me. I couldn’t think of a single reason why my situation was different from hers. It’s simply a chemical imbalance in my brain, and if I need to take something to correct it, so what? 

That all sounds very simple, and as long as life coasts along, it is. However when you live an incredibly stressful life, as most autism families do, it takes very little to tip you over the edge. When that happens, it can feel like you’re drowning or sinking in quicksand. A few months back, I wrote a poem. It’s awful – very childlike in style & not likely to win any prizes, but it was simply how I was feeling at the time. I posted it on my blog page, because I felt that putting it out there would be cathartic, but I purposefully didn’t share it on Facebook as I wasn’t ready to share my thoughts with friends and family, but I’ve taken my brave pills, so here goes.

Falling through the cracks

When bad days are the norm, and the good ones so rare

You can feel yourself breaking, but does anyone care?

Exhaustion is seeping from every pore

It’s like swimming in treacle, you can’t give any more.

Cracks getting bigger, bigger than you, 

Doing all that you can to stop falling through.

Love keeps you going, but for how long

When’s life has no joy and you heart’s lost its song.

Told you it was rubbish. Don McLean said it so much better in Vincent, but it’s incredibly personal, and I’m sharing to show others who may be feeling this way, that you are not on your own. If I didn’t have Alex and Tom, there are days when I wouldn’t get out of bed. Self-service checkouts are just the ticket when you can’t be bothered talking to anyone, and home delivery even better when leaving the house is impossible. Family events, parties, even funerals – you name it, I’ve dodged it. Some people smoke or drink, I eat. Then you get mad at yourself, and you eat more. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s one I’m determined to break. My recent health scare and subsequent stay in hospital had such a massive impact on our family, and I can’t risk that happening again. I’m saying that now because I’m thinking clearly, but who knows what the coming days or weeks will bring? When that fog descends, or as some people say, the black dog comes to visit. I can only take one day at a time. 

Throwing Tom’s autism into the mix has added another dimension to our lives, one that has tested me to my absolute limits, but I’m still here. Some days I’m stronger than I would ever think possible, some days not, but I’m still here. If you’ve made it to the end of this blog, thank you. If you can relate, either about yourself or someone you know, please please talk about it. It’s more common than you think, and the sooner we shake off the stigma, the better. 

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2 thoughts on “46. Mental Health Awareness Week”

  1. Your poem was perfect and sums up life coping with autism perfectly. Your posts always get me right ‘there’ *touches heart* as I can relate to them. Sometimes it feels like the punches are continuous doesn’t it? but when there’s a lull it can almost feel good. You are such an amazing mum. I hope you keep going because one day things will improve I’m sure. Hugs for you from me xx

    1. Hello! So lovely to hear from you again, Rebekah. Your comments always make my day, and I’m sorry I’m rubbish at replying. I always intend to, then life just gets in the way. Although my blog was about anxiety and depression, I’m actually doing pretty well at the moment. I was admitted to hospital suddenly a few weeks ago, and had my gall bladder removed. It gave me such a scare, and has shown me that things need to change. So, a proverbial new leaf has been turned over, haha! Of course, that’s not to say it won’t all go pear shaped tomorrow, but we can but try.
      I feel awful that you know so much about what’s happening in my life, yet I know nothing about you. How long is it since you left Twitter? I’m very rarely on it myself these days, although as the General Election approaches, it’s getting quite good again (I’m a bit of a political geek!) I’d love to hear from you, how things are with you and Neve. If you ever get a minute, my email is memoevans@btinternet.com. I know only too well how crazy our lives can be, so I’ll understand if you’re busy.
      Thank you again for your lovely comments. They mean the world to me.
      Morag xxx

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